Friday, August 29, 2008

Alexandra the Great

For my friend Alex who couldn't hurt a fly, but I would totally bet on her in a knife fight with David!

The Ring Toss

by Me!

It started with a sign, as many things in this world do. The sounds of the Monroe County fair reverberate in the dark recesses of David's memory. Flashes of times past seemed to echo back to him on the darkest of nights, on nights when the moon closes its giant eye and the world seems engulfed in shadow, when even the best of intentions twist into foul play. The remembered smell of a white hots linger across his nose, the sounds of children laughing to the haphazard beat of carnival music, mounds of cotton candy float by leaving circular sugar imprints on smiling faces, ping pong balls bounce happily as goldfish dart back and forth in their tiny abodes, waiting for some kid to swing it around in a plastic bag, most likely introducing it to an untimely death before leaving the fair grounds.

"If you are not allowed by law to be in possession of a weapon, please don't play this game." David stares at this sign and wonders what kind of person in Monroe County, anywhere, could not lawfully play the ring toss at a fair. With the last few dollars clutched in his hand, he contemplates getting a garbage plate and Jolt cola or trying his luck. He notices the colored blades immediately, and he feels strangely drawn, compelled to play.

David looks down realizing he was unconsciously stroking Arlo's handle. He won Arlo in a snickersnee tournament in Mexico City off of a very angry Indian. The handle, carved out of buffalo bone, showed measured and exceptional craftsmanship, a small totem with ancient symbols with an eagle topping it off. Arlo's sharpness had spilled many men's blood, won him food and money and was the reason he was still alive today and would hopefully carry his life through the night. "Thank you again Big Red," he mutters crossing the street.

Alexandra silently watches him approach the Rusty Nail from the alley, she sees his hand reach and gently slide across his blade's handle, like a subconscious tic. She notes the eyes first, always the eyes. You can read into the deepest caverns of a person's being through their eyes if you are trained right and know how to look. "There is a heaviness of spirit around this one," she thinks, they are often surprising in a duel, but their heaviness slows them down and none have escaped the swiftness of her blades. She thinks of her beloved Akecheta and her pact for vengeance ripples through her body; she feels this is the one who claimed her Love's life and took his blade, every cell in her body radiates and she knows this man with the heavy spirit stole her fighter's life and weapon and she will take it back and steal his life as payment.

The Rusty Nail is nothing special. It's floors are grimy, regulars sprinkle the bar,their backs hunched over cupping their pints like the holy grail, a fine haze of smoke shifts in the air with each new patron and the sounds of the young and carefree fill the room, the cracking of billiard balls serving as some sort of rhythmic staccato for this place's theme song. David stares deeply into his glass of whiskey almost wanting it to give him some sort of answer or reason, to spit out a why. He's sensed someone watching him since his approach and knows the time is soon.

Leaning back in his chair, he takes the room in recognizing two men with concealed weapons and a bartender that has an itchy trigger finger, most likely a shot gun underneath. He continues scanning the room and meets her gaze; he can feel the hatred and the fire and realizes he's not sure if he can duel a woman. The only sacred beings in his life were women and even though he can feel this one has enough anger to fill ten men, his ambivalence towards life, towards mankind is suddenly compromised. If he leaves, he is done, no forfeiting a match no matter who the opponent. David weighs the long journey, the blood spilt, the heaviness and loneliness for this quest, for this reason for finding one's self and respect again.

Before a decision can be made as to which path he'll continue down, she is standing before him silence thundering and pulsating with rings of hate in her eyes. The room seems to fade into nothing and they begin to circle one another. He can see her blade reflecting in the gold specks in her eyes, she strikes quickly and rips his shirt for sport. He moves defensively not committing, throwing it all away. "Akecheta!" She yells spins and thrusts her blade. He concentrates on the gold in her eyes and smiles.

The sun warms his face, leaves are glowing with light, he squints with determination and tosses. Eight knives total. He grins at himself and gingerly holds the colored handles, offering a pink blade to the sky, he thrusts it into the earth, a signpost of his winnings.

Friday, August 15, 2008

You are an Indentity Creator!

So regardless of the job I have, I try to stay abreast of news or improvements in my industry to feed my need to continuously learn something. Currently that means reading anywhere from 2-5 articles a week on average about the pharmaceutical industry, human resources or recruiting. I was reading an article the other day about identifying top talent that already exists in your organization and how to do that. The article mentioned The Dewey Color System and provided a link to take a test and get a free profile. The test takes no more than 5 minutes and it is simply a series of colors; you choose which you prefer looking at the most and then the least, finally choosing from about 16 colors in order of preference until they are gone. Based on your color choices they can supposedly tell you things about yourself to I guess help you make decisions in your life regarding careers and relationships.

My initial reaction was, what a bunch of malarkey, OK I'll try it! The point is to be instinctual about it and choose what your first thoughts are. After picking and choosing colors, this was my free sample and insight into my person from the fine folks at Dewey Color System:

You're an Identity Creator!

BLUE: initiator, visionary
GREEN: supportive, concerned
BLACK: emotional, focused

You're in touch with your emotions and clearly express what you want. When you listen to others' hopes, fears and concerns, they discover on their own what’s best for them, as well. You give to others the gift of knowing “who they are.”

Now I'm pretty sure I have one consistent reader of this blog (thanks dear!) and mostly because I ask my husband, so did you read my blog today? I'm grateful he amuses me by answering yes most of the time, but for all of my readers [crickets chirping] who know me, that um assessment up there, is pretty accurate. I'm not sure I'm so intrigued or astonished, I will be paying Mr.or Mrs. Dewey to obtain the rest of my results, but I was shocked and immediately pensive upon reading my test results.

Pretty much all of my friends and sometimes even those I don't know that well, have shared something with me followed by the statement, "I've never told anyone that, not even [enter whomever the most trusted and important person of their life's name here]." In the dark and far reaches of my brain (what a scary place THAT must be) I have individuals' deepest, sometimes darkest, secrets swirling around like wee postcards from those Postsecret books by Frank Warren (if you haven't seen these, they make a great house warming gift as a coffee table book). I feel flattered that my friends (and sometimes strangers, although with strangers it's a little unnerving) feel as though they can entrust me with those thoughts and that I represent an ever-present source of calm and giant sounding board. I sometimes think I should have been a cop or something, I don't even have to say anything to receive confessions!

Perhaps it is because I was a shy and introverted child, perhaps because I am a middle child between two very opinionated and...passionate sisters automatically making me the constant mediator and peace-keeper between us, but I've always been a good listener and a great observer. I look people in the eye, I notice body language, but will always examine and observe before opening my mouth. In my quiet looks I often discover things about people that maybe they are not aware of themselves and like my test results say I help people discover "who they are" and even sometimes who they want to be. This entry is really feeling a little too self-serving for my tastes, but my point is if people would just stop and listen for a change and not simply wait for their turn to speak, perchance we could all provide a sense of peace to a friend or even a stranger and then ultimately ourselves.

If you need to confess any sins, divulge a secret or simply get something off your chest, you know where to find me!

I leave today with a quote:

"It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen." -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Last Waltz

It is a week later and it seem my brain is still relaxing in Margate, NJ. It seems inevitable, at least once during the summer weekend trips that the musical documentary The Last Waltz will make an appearance (this was directed by Martin Scorsese who triples in cool points for this and his love of music, have you seen Lightening in a Bottle? If you remotely enjoy the blues, go see it, NOW!). The setting is typically family and friends who are basically family, sitting, talking, laughing and most likely drinking. Images flicker past, performances begin. It serves as ambiance, as background music and great entertainment, but now also a staple in my summer memories. One of my personal favorite moments, I mean there is an impressive gathering of musicians to commemorate The Band's last concert, but I love during Eric Clapton's performance his guitar strap slips off and he asks them to hold on to fix it and Robbie Robertson picks the solo right up; it's seamless and amazing and beautiful.

How amazing would it be to have your own "Last Waltz" of sorts, as a last hoorah before you leave your earthly body behind? To gather your favorite people, family, friends, inspirations, musicians, whatever and whomever you like! It's quite ego-centric to think that someone like Muddy Waters or Dr. John would show up to commemorate my little life, but it's sure fun to imagine the guest list.

In my mythical Last Waltz, I would want to gather at night under a sky filled with bright stars and surrounded by trees. I would give Charles Bukowski his own table and ask him to simply read his poetry all night long; there would most likely have to be a promise on my end to keep the wine flowing, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Maya Angelou would provide opening remarks, her velvety voice hugging the air and settling on the surrounding branches. I would engage Alice Walker and Toni Morrison in conversation trying to embody their regal sense of tone and power they release on the page. I can't envision music without Tori, but would ask her to sit next to me during dinner as well. Ben Harper would be present for both my viewing pleasure, but also to provide some sweet guitar-ings.

My Nan and Pop would definitely be there, holding hands, finally reunited. My Pop's laughter would set the rhythm for the evening and I could hear him call me Mega-Bucks again. We would sit side by side, pipe in his mouth, as we completed crossword puzzles in our respective leather recliners. My Nan's bean soup would be the first course and I would get to see her smile again and My Uncle Lou's kielbasa would be an appetizer. Ultimately all of my friends and family whom I see now would be there, but I envision a crowd of people who's lives I hope to touch or change for the better in my lifetime.

It would be a glorious party with wine flowing, my favorite foods (so you know watermelon will be there!), guitars, drum circles, banjos, family and friends. It would end as the sun began to rise and the sounds of my favorite things and people slowly faded away.